The Big Bang Theory "The Cooper/Kripke Inversion" Review: Sheldon's Road to Redemption (and Sex)
It's been a rough season for Sheldon Cooper so far. There was the accidental sexual harassment incident and his participation in the worst cosplay adventure ever—just to name some of his more unfortunate moments. In “The Cooper/Kripke Inversion,” Sheldon was forced to work on a proposal with his arch-nemesis and, to make matters worse, once he stopped handing Kripke envelopes full of blank paper and actually made an effort to collaborate with his rival, Sheldon realized that Kripke’s work was better than his. Like, a lot better than his. OH THE SHAME. I love that Sheldon’s angry music is the Star Wars Imperial March, but then, isn’t it everyone’s?
Kripke could have used Sheldon’s brief and startling moment of inferiority to assert his own greatness and really rub it in his egotistical rival’s face. Sheldon certainly wouldn’t have passed on the opportunity had the tables been reversed. However, Sheldon still had one thing going for him that Kripke didn’t: Amy. We know that they aren’t doing the old bump and grind. Leonard and Penny know that. Anyone who spends five minutes in a room with Sheldon and Amy can figure it out... but Kripke didn’t know. He immediately blamed Sheldon’s sub-par work on sexytimes with Ms. Farrah Fowler.
I was initially worried that Sheldon would take Kripke’s belief that Amy was a distraction to heart and we were going to have a break-up on our hands, but once Sheldon realized that Kripke thought it was AWESOME that Sheldon was getting “all the laid” he saw the opportunity to maintain his superiority for what it was. Also, Sheldon admitted during Penny’s TMI interrogation that he’s “quite fond of Amy.” Awwwww.
It was nice to hear that! I often feel bad for Amy. Sometimes, it seems apparent that she doesn't get as much as she gives with regard to her and Sheldon’s relationship. It’s easy to get mad at Sheldon. I get mad at Sheldon. He tends to miss some of the simplest gestures and while there’s a large contingency that reads his difficulties as representative of an Autism spectrum disorder, the show itself has never made this distinction. Sheldon’s honest response to Penny’s prying was a step toward doing so.
“Penny, all my life I have been uncomfortable with the sort of physical contact that comes easily to others: hand-shaking, hugging, prostate exams.” Might want to reconsider that last one there, Dr. Cooper, “But I’m working on it.”
Sometimes it seems as though The Big Bang Theory’s status quo is that “Sheldon is quirky and we all must accept that”—which in turn gives Sheldon free reign to, well, act like a douche. Sheldon’s honest admission to Penny and Leonard went a long way toward remediating his somewhat tarnished image—he may not always realize when he’s doing/saying something wrong but he IS aware that he’s flawed and he’s working on improving himself. The entire tone of Amy and Sheldon’s sometimes-weird relationship has changed for the better. Amy is no longer a sad, desperate woman throwing herself at a self-centered, disinterested man. They both give just as much to their relationship, they just do it in different ways.
Meanwhile, Raj and Howard sought the perfect custom action figures and Howard learned a lesson about the value of money and the importance of communicating with his spouse—especially since his spouse is Bernadette and Bernie has a temper AND access to experimental pharmaceuticals. Raj found a website that created custom vanity action figures that like so many things on the internet, looked better in the pictures. When the eagerly anticipated figurines arrived, Raj and Howard were disappointed to see that in reality, their $500 mini-mes were more like Racial Stereotype Ken Dolls.
Since Howard and Raj are super-smart, highly-educated dudes, they came up with a solution that couldn’t possibly end badly: Buy a used 3-D printer for five grand and make all the mini-mes they wanted to their own specifications. Admittedly, the new and improved action figures were kind of awesome-looking. BUT (of course there’s a but!) Howard didn’t talk to Bernadette before taking his half of the expense out of their joint bank account. Oh boy. Somebody get him a Marriage 101 pamphlet.
Howard and Raj’s adventures often provide a nice, light-hearted counter to the heavier relationship blah blah going on between Sheldon and Amy or Leonard and Penny at any given time and their mission to mold their perfect miniature selves was no exception. I was sad to see the 3-D printer go. Think of the (creepy) potential in a cast of homemade Big Bang Theory action figures. It could have been amazing!
What did you think of this episode?
The Stray Observation Addendum
– One-liner of the night: “My wife came with both funbags AND moneybags.” Oh Howard, you’re a pig.
– Bernadette was shocked and horrified that Howard actually considered ditching her for the fully-functional plastic ladyparts. I wasn’t.
– Kripke’s quest for the dirty details of Sheldon’s sex life got a little raunchy for 8pm on CBS. I about choked when he asked if they use toys.
– Sheldon’s awesome train whiteboard FTW!
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